Making the decision to bring a nanny into your home environment is one that requires careful consideration and appropriate research. Just like when choosing schools, childcare, or a pediatrician, parents must capitalize on every opportunity to ask the right questions so they can make the best decisions for their children.
The Initial Interview
The best opportunity parents have in the hiring process is their first interview with a potential nanny candidate. For some parents, asking, rather than answering, the important questions in a job interview will be a new experience. However, to best determine whether he or she will be the best fit for your family, there are five top questions you should ask your potential nanny.
Questions Every Parent Should Ask
1. What can you tell me about your previous nannying experiences and other related work experiences? Tell me, if you can, the reason you left your last position.
2. What were the ages of the children you have worked with? Why do you feel you are particularly qualified to supervise these age groups?
3. Are you certified in CPR and First Aid? Did your CPR training cover infant, child, and adult protocols?
4. Do you have previous work references that I may contact after our interview is complete?
5. Tell me what you love about being a nanny. And what do you not love about being a nanny? (Remember, nannies are people, too, and it is important to gauge the candidate’s probable comfort level and compatibility regarding your child’s needs.)
Employment References and History
After the interview is completed, it is important to follow up on the references the candidate provided and to ask comprehensive questions about previous performance. Some references will be leery about providing specific information, and some might require a release form signed by the candidate in advance of releasing any information. If unable to get specifics, try asking whether the person is eligible for re-hire by the company, agency or private employer. This question requires only a simple yes or no answer that can summarize the person’s overall performance with the previous employer.
Conducting a Background Check
In addition to contacting the references provided, it is vitally important to conduct a background search on potential candidates. Protecting your children from strangers is of the utmost importance, and no matter how much you feel you can trust the people you interviewed, a nanny background check is one of the only ways to ensure you are not inviting potential danger into your home.
Every family will have different comfort levels regarding what appears on a background check. While individuals with a history of sexual misconduct or violent behavior are obviously not appropriate choices, other types of offenses may be less obvious but still indicate a potential danger to your children. In particular, DUI/DWIs, theft of any kind, reckless endangerment, certain driving offenses, and any indication of domestic abuse issues can all indicate hazards that may translate into substandard or even dangerous care of your children.